Совет национальной безопасности США
Совет национальной безопасности (англ. National Security Council, сокращённо СНБ) — консультативный орган при президенте США для решения наиболее важных вопросов национальной безопасности и внешней политики, и координации действий всех основных ведомств, связанных с указанными вопрос ...

Совет национальной безопасности (англ. National Security Council, сокращённо СНБ) — консультативный орган при президенте США для решения наиболее важных вопросов национальной безопасности и внешней политики, и координации действий всех основных ведомств, связанных с указанными вопросами.

Совет национальной безопасности был создан в 1947 году законом о национальной безопасности. Его созданию послужила убеждённость влиятельных американских политиков в том, что дипломатия Государственного департамента США больше не была способна сдерживать СССР при напряжённых отношениях между СССР и США[1]. Конечной целью его создания было обеспечение согласованности действий между военно-морскими силами, Корпусом морской пехоты, сухопутными войсками и военно-воздушными силами США.

2009 г.:

Заседание СНБ: президент Барак Обама, Госсекретарь Хиллари Клинтон, Министр обороны — Роберт Гейтс, Заместитель начальника ОКНШ — ген. Кэртрайт, директор разведки Деннис Блэр, советник президента Грег Крейг, директор ЦРУ Леон Панетта, заместитель начальника Совета внутренней безопасности Том Донилон, советник президента по национальной безопасности ген. Джеймс «Джим» Джонс и глава президентской администрации Рэм Эмануел

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22 января, 10:45

Turkey Slams 'Allies' For Sending "Planeloads Of Arms" To Terrorists Ahead Of Emergency UN Session

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has turned on Ankara’s allies, insinuating that the US in particular has been providing massive military support to Kurdish YPG in Syria. In a speech to his ruling AK Party, RT reports that Erdogan said that ‘some allies’ of Turkey had provided the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia with 2,000 planeloads and 5,000 truckloads of weapons. “Now, apart from 5,000 trucks, there are weapons and ammunition from around 2,000 planes.” the Turkish leader said. He also accused Ankara’s allies of dishonesty when they say that they do not provide weapons for “terrorists,” referring to Kurdish-linked YPG forces. It was not just Washington that Turkish officials were accusing, they specifically accused France of supporting terrorism ahead of an emergency UN session set for Monday... "Anyone who opposes Turkey’s operation in northern Syria’s Afrin region is siding with terrorists and will be treated accordingly," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday. "We hope France will support Turkey's operation against terrorists in Syria," the minister added in reference to what Turkey has dubbed 'Operation Olive Branch'. After the Turkish military invaded northwest Syria over the weekend in an operation that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described as cleaning out Kurdish "terror nests", France called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. FM Çavuşoğlu's words were given in warning to French politicians who say they will take up the issue of Turkish aggression at the UN. France has urged Turkey to exercise restraint in its air and land assault targeting US-backed Kurdish forces in Afrin, near Turkey's border. The Turkish incursion reportedly prompted outrage from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who stated: "France calls on Turkish authorities to act with restraint in a difficult context, with the humanitarian situation deteriorating in several regions of Syria as a consequence of the military actions of the Damascus regime and its allies." The French FM also took to twitter to announce that an emergency UN Security Council session is set to meet Monday - though strangely (though not unexpectedly) his harshest condemnation was still reserved for the "Damascus regime and its allies" even as Turkey is now bombing civilian urban areas from the air. Ambassador Le Drian further issued a direct message by phone to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday.   #Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warns if #France or any other country takes #Afrin offensive to the UN, they will be siding with a terror group and be treated as such by Turkish gov't. pic.twitter.com/TE9jvueX32 — Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) January 21, 2018 Syrian Kurdish media has accused Turkey of launching the campaign out of a desire to ethnically cleanse the Turkish border region of its historically Kurdish identity.  Indeed Erdoğan has vowed "to give Afrin back to its real owners" while claiming that "55% of Afrin is composed of Arabs with 35% of Kurds coming there later on".  This as invading Turkish-backed militias (FSA) have been filmed shouting chants related to the ethnic cleansing of Kurds, according to Middle East analyst Hassan Hassan.   Pres Erdogan: Yesterday air strikes, today ground operation began on Afrin. 55% of Afrin is Arabs, %35 of Kurds who came there later on.. The whole point it to give Afrin back to real owners. We are going to send Syrians in Turkey back to their country as soon as possible. #live pic.twitter.com/gPR5HFOEh6 — Ahval (@ahval_en) January 21, 2018   Thus Turkey's president is openly voicing a goal of radical demographic shift in northwest Syria based on claimed ethnic statistics as his army invades foreign soil. Though accurate numbers are difficult to come by, Kurdish media reports dozens of dead and wounded civilians - including children -  from the over 100 airstrikes that pounded Afrin Canton over the weekend. Various international reports have cited numbers of civilians killed ranging from 7 to over 20, with many more wounded victims flooding hospitals in Afrin.   This weekend, Turkey began operation ‘Olive Branch’ against Kurdish forces in Afrin, deploying jets and land forces. On Sunday Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed that tanks and military vehicles had begun to cross the Syrian border, according to Haberturk. They were said to advance roughly five kilometers into the Afrin region. Yildirim also said the Turkish military, NATO’s second-largest, would create a 30-km (19-mile) “safe zone” in the  region. All of this was precipitated by multiple warnings issued by top Turkish officials claiming that the US was complicit in creating a "terror safe haven" along Turkey's border as the Pentagon recently announced it would be creating a 30,000 strong predominantly SDF "border force" ostensibly to protect US friendly zones from terror attacks. As a reminder, Turkey sees the YPG as being closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – whom the government considers terrorists. The United States is backing the YPG in Syria, seeing it as an effective partner in the fight against Islamic State. However, the US stressed on Saturday that they are not supporting the PKK. “We recognize Turkey’s security concerns about the PKK, a US-designated foreign terrorist organization,” Adrian Rankine-Galloway, the Pentagon’s spokesman said in a statement sent to the Anadolu Agency. And then on Sunday, the State Department said it is "very concerned" about Turkish military action, but stopped short of outright condemnation, and even appeared justified the military operation as originating out of the "legitimate security concerns of Turkey". The statement reads in part: As expressed by Secretary Tillerson in calls to his Turkish and Russian counterparts yesterday, the United States is very concerned about the situation in northwest Syria, especially the plight of innocent civilians who are now faced with an escalation in fighting.  We continue to be supportive of addressing the legitimate security concerns of Turkey as a NATO Ally and critical partner in the effort to defeat ISIS. However, we urge Turkey to exercise restraint and ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration and scrupulous to avoid civilian casualties. Meanwhile, Syria's President Assad slammed Turkey for violating Syrian sovereignty and supporting terrorism since the start of the conflict. He said in statements carried by state-run SANA:  "The brutal Turkish aggression on the Syrian town of Afrin cannot be separated from the Turkish regime’s policy from the first day of Syria’s crisis, which was essentially built on supporting terrorism and terrorist organizations, whatever their names." Assad referenced the widely reported fact that NATO member Turkey has allowed jihadists - most of them linked to ISIS and al-Qaeda - to flow freely across its border with Syria for years in pursuance of regime change in Damascus. It will be interesting to see the US articulate its position over the crisis during Monday's UN emergency session, especially as US ally and NATO member Turkey is attacking what is essentially a US partner force on the ground in northern Syria. But it appears that so far the US is willing to throw its Kurdish allies under the bus - at least as far as YPG in Afrin is concerned. 

22 января, 00:59

McMaster makes his pick to replace Powell on the NSC

Nadia Schadlow will beef up the academic credentials on the team but leaves the national security adviser without an insider to guide him through Trump world.

20 января, 21:40

Washington And Allies Go Orwellian On Korea Peace Talks

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation, Just as North and South Korea achieve important peaceful exchanges, Washington and its NATO allies appear to be moving with determination to sabotage the initiative for averting war on the East Asian peninsula. Further, the reckless, gratuitous provocations beg the conclusion that the United States is indeed trying to start a war. Meanwhile, unprecedented accusations this week by US President Donald Trump that Russia is supporting North Korea to evade United Nations sanctions also point to the danger that any conflict could spiral out of control to engulf world nuclear powers. Moscow rejected the unsubstantiated claims leveled by Trump, saying that Russia is abiding by UN trade restrictions over North Korea, and that the American president’s allegations were “entirely unfounded”. Trump’s verbal broadside suggests that Washington is trying to undermine the nascent talks between the two Koreas, talks which Russia and China have both applauded as a long-overdue diplomatic effort to resolve the Korean conflict. Separately, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deplored a summit held in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this week in which the US and 19 other nations – most of them NATO members – called for sharper sanctions on North Korea that go beyond the remit of the United Nations. The conference, co-hosted by Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, issued a stridently bellicose statement, calling in effect for North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons or face US-led military action. Significantly, and pointedly, China and Russia were not invited to the Canadian summit.   Most of the attending states were part of the original US-led military force which fought against North Korea during the 1950-53 war. A war which killed as many as two million North Koreans. Russia admonished that the conference was “harmful” to current peace talks between North and South Korea. China rebuked the Canadian event as being stuck in “Cold War thinking”. The anachronism of countries like Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands and Norway attending a conference on the Korean crisis while Asia-Pacific powers Russia and China being excluded was noted by Russia’s Sergei Lavrov. The anachronism is not only absurd, he said, it reprises a provocative “war summit” message. Disturbingly, what the Vancouver gathering demonstrated was the willingness by the US and its allies to circumvent the United Nations Security Council and the previously established regional Six-Party forum involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the US. At the Vancouver event, Tillerson laid out a belligerent agenda that was endorsed by the other attendees. The agenda included the precondition of North Korea giving up its nuclear program unilaterally; and it also flatly rejected the proposal made by Russia and China for a “freeze” in all military activities on the Korean Peninsula as a step to get comprehensive settlement talks going. Tillerson made the following sinister ultimatum: “We have to recognize that that threat [of North Korea’s nuclear weapons] is growing. And if North Korea does not choose the path of engagement, discussion, negotiation, [that is, surrender] then they themselves will trigger an option [US military action].” The US diplomat also warned that the American public must be “sober” about the possibility of war breaking out. Tillerson said the risk of such a war on the Korean Peninsula “continues to grow”. This was echoed by President Trump a day later in an interview with the Reuters news agency in which he also warned of possible war. It was the same interview in which Trump blamed Russia for aiding and abetting North Korea. This sounds like US leaders are intensifying the conditioning of the American public to accept use of the military option, which they have been threatening for the past year in a pre-emptive attack on North Korea. The Vancouver summit also called for proactive interdiction of international ships suspected of breaching UN sanctions on North Korea. That raises the danger of the US and its allies interfering with Russian and Chinese vessels – which would further escalate tensions. These reprehensible developments are a reflection of the increasingly Orwellian worldview held by Washington and its partners, whereby “war is presented as peace” and “peace is perceived as war”. Just this week, North and South Korea held a third round of peace negotiations in as many weeks. Even Western news media hailed “Olympic breakthrough” after the two adversaries agreed to participate in the opening ceremony of the forthcoming winter games next month as a unified nation under a neutral flag. After two years of no inter-Korean talks and mounting war tensions on the peninsula, surely the quickening pace of peace overtures this month should be welcomed and encouraged. Russia, China and the UN have indeed endorsed the bilateral Korean exchange. Even President Trump said he welcomed it. Nevertheless, as the Vancouver summit this week shows, the US and its NATO allies appear to be doing everything to torpedo the inter-Korean dialogue. Issuing ultimatums and warning of “military options” seems intended to blow up the delicate dynamic towards confidence and trust. Two reports this week in the New York Times conveyed the contorted Orwellian mindset gripping Washington and its allies. First, there was the report: “Military quietly prepares for a last resort: War with North Korea”. The NY Times actually reported extensive Pentagon plans for a preemptive air assault on North Korea involving a “deep attack” manned by 82nd Airborne paratroopers and special forces. The paper spun the provocative war plans as a “last resort”. In other words, war is sold here as peace. Which raises the question of who is trying to wreck the Olympic Games being held in South Korea in February. For months, Western media have been warning that North Korea was intending to carry out some kind of sabotage. Now, it looks like the sabotage is actually coming from the US, albeit sanitized by the NY Times. The second report in the NY Times had the telling headline: “Olympic détente upends US strategy on North Korea”. So, let’s get our head around that display of dubious logic. A peaceful development of détente between two adversaries is somehow presented as a pernicious “upending of US strategy on North Korea”. In other words, peace is sold here as war. Take for example this choice editorial comment from the NY Times in the second report: “This latest gesture of unity, the most dramatic in a decade, could add to fears in Washington that Pyongyang is making progress on a more far-reaching agenda.” And what, one wonders, would that “far-reaching agenda” entail? Again the NY Times elaborates: “White House officials warn that the ultimate goal of [North Korean leader] Mr Kim is to evict American troops from the Korean Peninsula and to reunify the two Koreas under a single flag… For the United States, the fear has been that North Korea’s gestures will drive a wedge between it and its ally, South Korea.” Only in a perverse Orwellian worldview would an initiative to calm tensions and build peaceful relations be construed as something to “fear” and be opposed to. Only in a perverse Orwellian worldview would peaceful dialogue provoke plans for pre-emptive war.   But that is precisely the kind of dystopian world that Washington and its lackeys inhabit.

20 января, 20:15

Who's in and who's out as the West Wing grapples with shutdown

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'There is no support staff, limited food and there are no assistants,' says one Obama veteran of the 2013 government closure.

20 января, 17:12

Now That The Government Has Shut Down, Here's What Actually "Shuts Down"

It's official: as of midnight Saturday, the US government has shut down following a failure in the Senate to strike a funding deal. Government funding was due to run out after Dec. 8 but was twice extended, most recently through Jan. 19, at which point the US encountered what’s officially called a "spending gap," which triggers an official halt to Washington’s work. In retrospect, this is hardly a novel development, as history shows there have been 18 previous closures starting in 1976, with the last one taking place in September 2013. Almost all of the funding gaps occurred between FY1977 and FY1995. During this 19-fiscal-year period, 15 funding gaps occurred. Additionally, seven of the funding gaps commenced with the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1. The remaining 11 funding gaps occurred at least more than one day after the fiscal year had begun. Ten of the funding gaps ended in October, four ended in November, three ended in December, and one ended in January. According to the CRO, funding gaps have ranged in duration from one to 21 full days, with six of the eight lengthiest funding gaps, lasting between eight days and 17 days, occurred between FY1977 and FY1980—before the Civiletti opinions were issued in 1980 and early 1981. After the issuance of these opinions, the duration of funding gaps in general shortened considerably, typically ranging from one day to three days. Of these, most occurred over a weekend. * * * So now that the US government is taking some time off for only the second time this century, here is a summary of what actually is shut down until the funding gap is closed, courtesy of Bloomberg. 1. What happens if the government shuts down? Many, though not all, federal government functions are frozen, and many, though not all, federal employees are furloughed. Agencies in the executive branch, the one with the largest workforce and budget, regularly review shutdown plans that spell out what work must continue, and how many employees will be retained, during a "short" lapse (one to five days) and one that lasts longer. 2. Which government functions cease?   The ones that draw headlines are closures of national parks, monuments and the Smithsonian museums in Washington. Other activities that may stop if the shutdown lasts more than a few days include the processing of applications for passports and visas; new enrollments in experimental treatments under the National Institutes for Health; and the maintenance of U.S. government websites, including ones used by businesses and researchers. Mortgage approvals can be delayed by furloughs at the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Housing Administration. The last shutdown, which lasted 16 days in 2013, delayed release of Labor Department monthly employment reports, Commerce Department data on retail sales and housing starts and a monthly Fed report on industrial production that uses Labor Department data. Also delayed was approval of drilling applications at the Bureau of Land Management, consideration of applications for small business loans and the start of the Alaska crab season, which relies on harvest levels apportioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A breakdown by organization: The Treasury Department, which includes the IRS, will send home more than 83 percent of its 88,268 workers. About 1,000 employees will stay in place to manage debt, monitor domestic and international financial markets and policy coordination. Another 2,800 workers are exempt from the shutdown to avoid any disruptions with debt borrowing functions, debt collection, investment, debt accounting and Social Security disbursements. At the IRS, tax refunds could take longer, depending how long the shutdown lasts. The agency lists work related to issuing refunds among tasks that won’t be excepted from the shutdown. But it wasn’t expecting to begin accepting 2017 tax returns until Jan. 29. Other IRS functions to be suspended include audits, non-automated collections and processing 1040X amended returns, according to a contingency plan dated Jan. 17. (A more detailed list can be found here.) White House The Executive Office of the President will be dramatically pared down, according to a memo released on Friday night. The memo called for reducing the total number of workers in the office to 659, out of about 1,715 people on staff. The White House Office, a subset of the executive office that includes many of the functions closest to the president’s decision making, will be cut from 371 staffers to just 152. Twenty-one people will remain at the Executive Residence, as well as one person at the vice president’s residence. Fourteen staffers will be working at the Office of the Vice President, from 16. The National Security Council will retain all but one of its 45 staffers. Eight people will remain at the Council of Economic Advisers, from 24. Securities and Exchange Commission Operations at the Securities and Exchange Commission are set to be sharply curtailed. Despite collecting fees from participants in the markets it regulates, Wall Street’s main regulator will shrink its staff to about 300 employees from almost 4,600, according to an agency plan posted in December. The SEC plans to keep operating its Edgar corporate-filing system. But it won’t approve registrations for investment advisers, issue interpretive guidance, or review many pending applications or registrations for new financial products. The commission will continue to deal with emergency enforcement actions like temporary restraining orders against accused market cheats. And it will continue to monitor its system for tips, complaints and referrals and operate its information systems, according to the plan. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, At the country’s main swaps regulator, the vast majority of activity will likewise grind to a halt. Under a plan submitted to the White House on Friday, just 69 essential employees will remain on the job to try to ensure “to the extent practicable, the oversight of the derivatives markets and to police those markets to ensure they are free of fraud and manipulation." Still, the “vast bulk” of work by the commission will cease, according to the plan. For example, the agency’s enforcement division will stop reviewing and investigating new victim complaints, or taking new actions against violators. Much market oversight activities will also cease. Business and Economy The shutdown is likely to postpone the release of market-moving economic data, depending how long it continues. In 2013, the Labor Department’s monthly employment report for September was delayed by 18 days, while the release of October figures was pushed back a week. Department of Commerce data were also delayed, including retail sales and housing starts, along with industrial-production figures from the Federal Reserve. The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, which publishes data important to livestock and crop traders, won’t be releasing any reports on any day the government is shut down, according to department spokesman Damon Thompson. For the central bank’s functions that aren’t related to economic data, it’s likely to be business as usual, since the Fed doesn’t rely on money appropriated by Congress to operate. That means checks will still be cleared and FedWire, used by the financial industry for large, time-sensitive credit payments, will continue to run. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which relies on user fees and doesn’t get tax dollars, said it has enough money to remain open “for a few weeks” to process the hundreds of thousands of applications for patents on new inventions or trademarks for new products. The Federal Communications Commission has funds to remain open through Jan. 26, spokesman Brian Hart said in an email. During the 2013 shutdown, the agency stopped accepting filings and ceased certifying that new electronic devices don’t cause interference. Farm Service Agency offices in rural counties nationwide will be closed, and federal farm payments won’t be processed, according to the Agriculture Department. Workplace Safety & Labor Many programs at the Department of Labor designed to help workers will stop. Other federal offices designed to protect workers’ rights will also close their doors. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which enforces contractors’ compliance with labor and civil rights laws, will cease operations. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program will stop processing new requests for assistance from workers who’ve lost their jobs to competition or offshoring. The National Labor Relations Board will stop handling cases. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces workplace civil rights laws, will cease investigating charges and answering questions from the public. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will send home three-quarters of its staff, and suspend most workplace safety inspections. Some exceptions will be made, such as investigating "imminent danger situations," addressing first responders’ warnings of "high risk of death" and following up on "high-gravity serious violations." Law Enforcement & Courts The law exempts from the shutdown those employees who are deemed necessary to protect life or property. Most types of law enforcement and criminal justice fit into that category. About 83 percent of the Justice Department’s 115,000 employees will continue to report to work if the government shuts down, according to the department’s contingency plan. Criminal litigation will continue without interruption; non-essential civil litigation is to be curtailed or postponed. The Federal Trade Commission will suspend antitrust investigations not related to mergers. Merger reviews by the FTC and the Justice Department will continue. The agencies say they will go to court to challenge deals if necessary. Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have enough money from sources like fines and filing fees to continue most operations through Feb. 9, according to Jackie Koszczuk, a spokeswoman with the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Department of Homeland Security will remain largely unaffected, with 87 percent of its 232,860 employees deemed exempt from the shutdown. The department includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard and the Secret Service. National Security & Foreign Affairs At the Defense Department, military personnel are expected to report for duty, but won’t get paid until the shutdown ends. As for civilian workers, those performing activities excepted from the shutdown, such as protecting property or lives or supporting combat operations, will likewise have to work; the rest can stay home. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t affected. A shutdown can mean halting maintenance of weapons and other defense systems. Payments also stop for a range of services, including everything from money to contractors to death benefits for families of those killed in the line of duty. Another casualty of a shutdown: at military bases around the country, so-called commissaries -- what civilians might call grocery stores -- will shut down, a complication for families at remote locations, according to Rebecca Grant, a military analyst and president of IRIS Independent Research in Washington. The effects of a shutdown on foreign and trade policy may be minimal. The State Department issued guidance on Friday saying that passport and visa services, as well as other agency functions, will stay open until the money runs out. Many bureaus in the department have reserves because they’re funded every few years or with money that can be saved indefinitely rather than spent within a year. "The department will continue as many normal operations as possible,” said the guidance, posted on the State Department website. "Operating status and available funding will need to be monitored continuously and closely, and planning for a lapse in appropriations must be continued.” The State Department says no new travel or "representational events” should be arranged. However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hasn’t decided yet on whether to cancel a trip to Europe planned for next week. A shutdown is unlikely to affect U.S. involvement in talks next week in Montreal on a new North American Free Trade Agreement, since negotiators from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office would be designated as essential staff. Health About half the staff at the Department of Health and Human Services will be furloughed, according to a plan posted on the department’s website Friday. The resulting changes will reverberate across a range of functions that affect the average person. The Food and Drug Administration will be "unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities," according to the shutdown plan. It will also stop conducting "routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports" and other programs. The Centers for Disease Control said its "immediate response to urgent disease outbreaks, including seasonal influenza, would continue." It added that it would be "unable to support most non-communicable disease prevention programs." The National Institutes of Health, which typically treats only those people for whom standard treatments don’t work, will stop admitting most new patients. Food-safety inspections and other critical functions will continue at the Department of Agriculture. Federally mandated nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and school-feeding initiatives, will continue, but the Women, Infants and Children program and other assistance from the discretionary budget may be in danger of running out of funds. * * * 3. Which government functions continue? Activities related to national security (like the military services), safety and order (air traffic control, law enforcement) and medical care (veterans’ hospitals) are among the essential activities that carry on. So does the U.S. mail, since the Postal Service has its own funding stream. U.S. Treasury debt auctions continue, Social Security and Medicare checks get mailed, food stamps are distributed. Federal courts are open but their work is subject to disruption. 4. How many federal employees stay home? In the 2013 shutdown, the number of executive-branch employees who were furloughed on a given day peaked at 850,000, or about 40 percent of the workforce. 5. Do federal employees get paid? Eventually. When a shutdown happens, most federal employees -- there are about 2.8 million of them now -- are placed on unpaid furlough. Though there "appears to be no guarantee" that they will eventually be paid, in practice they always have been, retroactively, via legislation passed by Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service. 6. How often does this happen? There have been 12 shutdowns since 1981, ranging in duration from a single day to 21 days, according to the Congressional Research Service. The 21-day one, in December 1995 and January 1996, was a famous budget showdown that pitted President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and the Republican House speaker, Newt Gingrich. Shutdowns over budget disagreements are different (and less grave) than what would happen if the U.S. breached its debt ceiling and defaulted on some of its obligations. That’s never happened -- though its specter, too, will grow if Congress doesn’t reach a budget deal in the next several weeks. 7. What happened prior to 1981? Until then, "funding gaps" didn’t result in shutdowns; agencies operated mostly as normal, and their expenses were covered retroactively once a deal was reached. Benjamin Civiletti, attorney general under President Jimmy Carter, put an end to that. With legal opinions issued in 1980 and 1981, he established that government work generally must cease until Congress agrees to pay for it. His rulings were codified in the Antideficiency Act, which, in theory at least, authorizes fines or prison terms to federal employees who dare work for free during a shutdown. 8. How Do Markets React Markets have tended to shrug off shutdowns as long as the debt limit is not involved. The 1995, 1995-96, and 2013 government shutdowns had a modest effect on financial markets. The dollar weakened slightly in all three cases in the few days following each shutdown, with a further leg down in 2013 as the debt limit deadline approached. Treasury yields did not react meaningfully at the start of these shutdowns. The equity market reaction was inconsistent, with a slight decline in the early days of the December 1995 and October 2013 episodes, but no real change around the November 1995 shutdowns. This time around, the debt limit deadline is around six weeks away from the Treasury’s target, and even farther from our own estimate, so unless the shutdown lasts for over a month, the market should largely ignore it.

20 января, 01:17

Iran nuclear deal collapse could spell grave consequences for the Korean peninsula – Lavrov

The situation around Syria was one of the issues the Russian Foreign Minister addressed during a media conference after a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8x9b RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaToday Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews Follow us on Telegram https://t.me/rtintl Follow us on VK https://vk.com/rt_international Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com Follow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rt Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT Listen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttv RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

17 января, 21:44

The Rise and Fall of Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage

Both men have receded to the political margins, but there's no telling if that's where they'll stay.

17 января, 21:41

Turkey says will respond immediately to any threats from Western Syria

HATAY, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey will respond immediately to any threats that could harm the country or its citizens emanating from western Syria, its National Security Council said on Wednesday.

17 января, 01:19

Resolve differences peacefully, Security Council to DR Congo political actors

Voicing serious concern over the continued political impasse and violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations Security Council has called upon all political actors to exercise maximum restraint and to address their differences peacefully.

16 января, 20:13

The US Is Developing Two New Nuclear Weapons

As military suspicions between the US and Russia escalate to levels last seen during the Cold War, both countries are trying to bolster their defenses and their military readiness to hedge against a plethora of geopolitical risks, from nuclear war on the Korean peninsula to a direct military confrontation between China and the US, or possibly Russia and the US. In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin was accused of provoking NATO by marshaling 10,000 Russian and Belarusian troops along Russia’s western border with the Baltic states for their “Zapad” military exercises - something that prompted an outcry from NATO. Putin has vigorously defended  Russia’s right to carry out military exercises and ballistic missile tests, arguing that both the US and NATO have been "accelerating build-up of infrastructure in Europe" in violation of the 1987 treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles. In a similar vein, the US has accused Russia of violating the same treaty with missile tests of its own. Meanwhile, as the US and its allies have accused Russia of meddling in Western elections, the number of NATO troops deployed near the Russian border has tripled in recent years as tensions have percolated. With tensions at a fever pitch, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the Pentagon is developing two new nuclear missiles that would be capable of deployment from a nuclear submarine.   It’s also seeking to reauthorize a nuclear-tipped sea-launched cruise missile, a system that was retired from the American arsenal in 2010. The development of the two weapons is among a broad range of recommendations in the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson allegedly made his “moron” comment about the president during a meeting at the Pentagon that was intended to review the US’s nuclear policy. All of this is part of a major reassessment of US nuclear strategy and programs that was commissioned about a year ago by President Donald Trump. According to WSJ, the Pentagon is expected to formally unveil its comprehensive new plan later this month. But in the meantime, it has leaked some tantalizing details to the WSJ’s Pentagon reporter, even though the final draft of the policy hasn’t been approved by the president. The Pentagon has dismissed an unclassified draft of the strategy that was published last week by HuffPost - which claimed that Trump wants to build a lot more nukes - as “predecisional.” Meanwhile more updated drafts are also circulating. But the plans to field the new nuclear systems have strong support in the Pentagon and are expected to go forward, according to people familiar with the review. The plan as it stands represents a shift away from de-nuclearization and returning instead to a Soviet-era arms race mentality. However, critics say that the development of low-power nukes is almost as dangerous as hydrogen bombs because they lower the threshold to possible use. A major question at the heart of the Pentagon review is how to respond to military strategy and programs in Russia and China, which American officials say provide a more prominent role for nuclear weapons. In effect, the Pentagon argues that since adversaries have failed to follow the US in de-emphasizing the role of nuclear weapons, Washington needs a greater range of nuclear options to counter its potential foes, especially for carrying out limited strikes. Russia’s decision to develop and deploy that system is described by the review as part of a Russian doctrine that calls for threatening the limited use of nuclear weapons, or perhaps even carrying out a limited nuclear strike, to end a conventional war on terms favorable to the Kremlin. By developing a new American “low yield” system, the Pentagon review argues the US will have more credible options to respond to Russian threats without using more powerful strategic nuclear weapons, which the Kremlin may calculate Washington would be reluctant to use for fear of unleashing an all-out nuclear war. Because the new weapons it is proposing would be based at sea, the US wouldn’t need the permission of other nations to deploy them and their deployment wouldn’t violate existing arms-control agreements. The draft doesn’t precisely define what “low yield” nuclear weapons might be, but the new Trident system might have a warhead of one or two kilotons, compared with the current system which has an explosive yield that ranges from 100 kilotons to 455 kilotons, depending on the warhead it carries. By comparison, the U.S. nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II was about 15 kilotons. Critics of the Pentagon’s strategy claim that the adoption of “low-power” nuclear weapons could lower the threshold for launching a nuclear strike. “We should be doing everything to reduce the risk that nuclear weapons are going to be used, not expanding the ambiguity of when we might use nuclear weapons,” said Jon Wolfsthal, who served as a senior official for arms control on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council. Regardless, the review has drawn support from conservative lawmakers and pundits. “This is not about making weapons more usable; this is about strengthening deterrence so that nuclear weapons are not used in the first place,” said Robert Joseph, a senior national security official in the George W. Bush administration. "We have to think what would be credible in Russian eyes." According to the WSJ, the review makes clear that the US could suspend its plans to revamp its nuclear arsenal if Russia fixes alleged violation of the 1987 treaty banning U.S. and Russian land-based intermediate-range missiles and also reduce its formidable arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons. Russia and China aren’t the only threats cited in the nuclear review. It also asserts that upgrading the US nuclear arsenal will add to the country’s ability to deter North Korean aggression.   “North Korea relies on hardened and deeply buried facilities to secure the Kim regime and its key military and command and control capabilities,” the review says. "Consequently, the United States will continue to field a range of conventional and nuclear capabilities able to hold such targets at risk." Despite the debate over the proposed “low yield” Trident missile and sea-launched cruise missile, many of the other weapons recommended by the review also were advocated by the Obama administration, including the development of a new strategic bomber and an air-launched cruise missile. But even if the plan is approved by Trump, carrying out the modernization will require 6.4% of the Defense Department budget, up from 2% to 3% today. If the Pentagon doesn’t secure the spending increases it anticipates - something that Republicans are fighting to include in a long-term spending bill - this could heighten the competition for funds. But as Russia continues to test powerful ICBMs that it claims can overcome NATO’s missile-defense systems - and North Korea and Iran continuing ballistic missile tests of their own - the urgency to pass a plan to upgrade US weapons systems hasn’t been this intense in years.  

16 января, 11:14

СМИ сообщили о планах Пентагона по новым ядерным вооружениям

Пентагон разрабатывает планы по созданию новой крылатой ракеты и оснащению баллистической ракеты Trident II маломощным ядерным зарядом сообщает The Wall Street Journal. Эти решения укладываются в новую ядерную стратегию, призванную ответить на «растущие военные возможности России и Китая», отмечает издание. Эксперты сообщили изданию, что разработать новую маломощную боеголовку можно в течение двух лет. Отмечается, что новое вооружение будет размещено на подлодках США и просить разрешения на его использование у других стран не придется. Ранее старший директор Совета национальной безопасности США по контролю над вооружениями и нераспространению Джон Вулфстал сообщал о готовящемся снижении существующих ограничений в сфере использования ядерного оружия. Речь шла, в частности, об установке новых ядерных боеголовок на ракеты подводного базирования Trident D5. 

15 января, 22:39

In Afghanistan, Security Council reiterates support for efforts to restore peace and progress

The United Nations Security Council, during a weekend mission to Afghanistan, reiterated its support for the Central Asian country’s efforts to restore peace, stability and progress.

15 января, 18:42

Hawaii and the Horror of Human Error

“There are fail safes built into the system, but there aren’t enough fail safes”

15 января, 17:17

Ядерный чемоданчик Трампа: США готовятся к войне?

Фото: Pixabay Накануне в The Huffington Post обнародовали проект «Обзора ядерной политики» Соединенных Штатов, подготовленный Минобороны страны. Как поясняется в документе, в рамках новой ядерной доктрины ожидается наращивание ядерного оружия. Утечка информации вызвала неоднозначную реакцию, а ложный сигнал об атаке на Гавайи, после которого жители 40 минут ожидали гибели от ракет, спровоцировал волну дискуссий о доступности применения ядерного оружия. Окончательную версию проекта планируют опубликовать только в феврале. В пресс-службе Пентагона ситуацию комментировать отказались. Ранее стало известно, что в планах администрации Трампа - потратить до $400 млрд на модернизацию и поддержку ядерных сил. Как сообщили в Бюджетном управлении американского конгресса, в ближайшие 30 лет для этого выделят $1,2 трлн. Суть документаСогласно опубликованной в СМИ информации, Минобороны планирует модернизировать атомные подводные ракетоносцы, стратегическую авиацию и межконтинентальные баллистические ракеты. Также речь идет об обновлении ряда маломощных ракет на подводных лодках, а также возвращении «крылатой ракеты с ядерной боеголовкой». Кроме того, в проекте говорится о разработке нового вида маломощных ядерных вооружений — боеголовок с низкой взрывной силой. В документе упоминается создание ядерной боеголовки с зарядом малой мощности для ракет Trident D5. Среди внешних «угроз», против которых и затеяна инициатива, называют Россию, Китай, КНДР и Иран. Логика та же, что и всегда – политика «сдерживания». Наследие ОбамыДокумент должен прийти на смену доктрине 2010 года, которая была принята при администрации Барака Обамы. В первый год правления чернокожий президент первым делом пообещал, что Америка будет искать «мира и безопасности без ядерного оружия». Заявления, связанные с разработкой ядерного оружия ограниченной мощности, были и во время правления Билла Клинтона, и Джорджа Буша-младшего. При Обаме «безъядерный мир» был заявлен как стратегическая цель. Однако уже тогда начались работы над ядерными бомбами B61-12 – в 2015 году США провели испытания 12-й модификации авиабомбы. Более того, их размещение было запланировано в европейских странах-участницах НАТО к 2020 году. Именно администрация Обамы первая заговорила о подготовке к возможной войне против России в Восточной Европе с использованием ядерного оружия. Не будем забывать, что антироссийская риторика в военной сфере была накалена до предела именно при его правлении. The Guardian, ссылаясь на бывшего старшего директора Совета национальной безопасности США по контролю над вооружениями и нераспространению ядерного оружия Джона Вулфстала, который работал при администрации Барака Обамы, отмечала, что уже ведутся разработки новой боеголовки для Trident II D-5 (ракеты подводного базирования, взрыв каждой из которых будет в несколько раз мощнее, чем от бомб, сброшенных на Хиросиму и Нагасаки).  Зачем это ТрампуВ октябре 2017-го года, согласно информации NBC, Трамп совещался с высокопоставленными лицами по вопросам национальной безопасности, высказав намерение «десятикратно увеличить американский ядерный арсенал». Смысл – демонстрация силы, и особое внимание к уменьшению мощности боеголовок, чтобы сделать их более применимыми на обычной войне (это - важная часть ядерной политики Трампа). Нет ничего удивительного в том, что ядерное оружие рассматривается администрацией Трампа и Пентагоном как реальное боевое средство. Западные СМИ в основном пишут о том, что Трамп стремится показать, что использование ядерного оружия на практике – возможно, в том числе при угрозах химического, биологического, ядерного, космического оружия и киберопасности. ОпасностьКак отмечает Huffington Post, в обнародованном проекте формально речь идет о более «мягком» виде ядерного оружия, которое якобы будет наносить меньший вред при атаке – однако подобные «маломощные» орудия были применены в свое время на Хиросиме и Нагасаки. Последствия до сих пор катастрофические. Эвфемизм проекта состоит в том, что маломощное оружие является «дополнением», которое будет способствовать сдерживанию оппонентов. Умалчивается о том, что у США уже есть более тысячи подобных маломощных ядерных боеголовок. «Не говоря уже о том, что чем больше атомных бомб вы производите, тем более вероятно, что однажды ими воспользуются». В активном запасе США – более 4000 атомных бомб, которых достаточно, чтобы «разрушить мир несколько раз», по выражению директора Центра контроля над вооружением Александры Белл. «С 2010 года угрозы стали более серьезными»На этот раз внимание к ревизии ядерного вооружения связано с «негативными изменениями в сфере безопасности», цитирует CNN источник в Пентагоне. В публикации сообщается также, что военное ведомство считает, что с 2010 года угрозы стали серьезнее, и США должны быть готовы к «противостоянию». Безусловно, проект – логическое продолжение новой Стратегии национальной безопасности, утвержденной Трампом ранее, предусматривающей модернизацию в разных сферах вооружения, в том числе ядерных. Кроме того, беспрецедентно большой бюджет Пентагона на 2018 год предусматривает как научно-исследовательские работы, так и практическое производство изделий. ЕвропаТо, что действительно опасно – размещение ядерного вооружения США в Европе, что происходит еще с 1950-х гг. Тогда расширение НАТО аргументировалось как ассиметричный ответ на возможный масштабный конфликт с государствами Варшавского договора. В 1954 году приняли соответствующую стратегию альянса «Щит и меч». Число американских ядерных атомных бомб в Европе с каждым годом растет. В основном это и есть вышеупомянутые В-61, на данный момент они размещены на шести авиабазах: в Германии (более 20-ти – в Бюхеле), в Италии (более сотни в Авиано и Геди), Бельгии (10-20 в Кляйне Брогеле), в Нидерландах (10-20 в Волкеле). По неофициальным данным, число бомб превышает тысячу.

04 января, 11:19

Юрий Селиванов, Бэкграунд, выпуск № 116: «Америка точно знает: Украина — это Россия!»

Правящие круги США еще 70 лет назад официально признали, что отдельное существование Украины от остальной...

22 декабря 2017, 14:26

North Korea Pledges to Rival U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

North Korea condemned the U.S.’s new national-security strategy and vowed to build a nuclear arsenal to match Washington’s ahead of a United Nations Security Council vote that could expand sanctions on the regime.

22 декабря 2017, 03:09

Strengthen measures to counter threats posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters, Security Council urges

“Gravely concerned” over risks posed by foreign terrorist fighters returning from conflict zones, the United Nations Security Council on Thursday called on Member States to strengthen their efforts to counter the threat through measures on border control, criminal justice, information-sharing and counter-extremism.

22 декабря 2017, 03:03

Security Council to consider set of elements in peacekeeping reviews

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday expressed its intention to consider a set of elements when reviewing mandates and configuration of peacekeeping missions.

22 декабря 2017, 02:55

Congress Demands DOJ Turn Over Evidence Related To Obama-Hezbollah Drug Trafficking

Congress has demanded that the Department of Justice turn over all documents related to a disturbing report from POLITICO that the Obama administration quashed a massive DEA investigation into a $200 million per month drug trafficking and money laundering scheme on U.S. soil which was directly funding Hezbollah's various terror campaigns around the world.  "Add this to the long list of concessions the Obama administration made in pursuit of the nuclear agreement with Iran," said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter. "The difference here is that this wasn't just bad policy—it was potentially criminal. Congress absolutely has a responsibility to get to the bottom of this." The letter follows a commitment made by congressional leaders to open an investigation into the explosive claims of what is being described as a "potentially criminal" enterprise described to the Free Beacon by a congressional source as an offshoot of Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran which saw $1.7 billion dollars of euros, Swiss francs and other currencies shipped directly to Tehran on wooden pallets. In early 2016, French police smashed a Hezbollah cell accused of trafficking cocaine for one of the world's most ruthless drug cartels in order to fund the militant group's operations in Syria. The Telegraph reported at the time:  The agents, arrested in France, allegedly masterminded a massive global drug ring which raised millions of dollars to arm Hizbollah gunmen fighting for Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, in Syria. Two years ago, one of the outfit’s sicarios, or hitmen, was arrested in Spain on suspicion of having ordered up to 400 murders worldwide. The Hizbollah agents detained by French police include alleged leaders of the group's European cell, including 45-year-old businessman Mohamad Noureddine. The DEA, which has classified him as a “specially-designated global terrorist”, accuses him of being a Lebanese money launderer for Hizbollah's financial arm.   A DEA statement said: "These proceeds are used to purchase weapons for Hizbollah for its activities in Syria. This ongoing investigation…once again highlights the dangerous global nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism." Despite the active and ongoing DEA investigations into Hezbollah's global operations, the Obama administration "threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way" according to Politico.  In a Thursday letter from Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Congress demanded all communications and documents related to the DEA's "Project Cassandra" campaign which targeted "a global Hizbollah network responsible for the movement of large quantities of cocaine in the United States and Europe," along with information on operations "Titan" and "Perseus," as well as the Lebanese Canadian Bank, The Iran-Hezbollah Super Facilitator Initiative, and several named individuals.  Also sought are "all documents and communications referring or relating to the potential designation of Hezbollah as a Transnational Criminal Organization," along with "all documents referring or relating to efforts to prosecute targets related to Hezbolah" via the RICO act.  "We have a responsibility to evaluate whether these allegations are true, and if so, did the administration undermine U.S. law enforcement and compromise U.S. national security," the lawmakers wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Sessions.  As the Free Beacon reported yesterday: U.S. drug enforcement agents who spoke to Politico about the matter accused the Obama administration of intentionally derailing an investigation into Hezbollah's drug trafficking and money laundering efforts that began in 2008 under the Bush administration.   The investigation centered on Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militants who allegedly participated in the illicit drug network, which was subject to U.S. wiretaps and undercover operations.   Hezbollah is believed to have been laundering at least $200 million a month just in the United States, according to the report.   When U.S. authorities were ready to make the case against Hezbollah's most senior leadership, Obama administration officials allegedly "threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way," according inside sources who spoke to Politico about the situation   The Obama-led effort to block the investigation was "a policy decision, it was a systematic decision," one source said. "They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down." As we reported yesterday, Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL), a chief national security voice in the House who fought against the nuclear accord, mimicked the views of DeSantis saying that Congress must investigate the Obama administration's actions and work to increase pressure on Hezbollah. "The report alleging the Obama Administration turned a blind eye and allowed Hezbollah to pump drugs into the United States to fund its terror campaigns in the Middle East is not surprising," Roskam said. "Hampering the DEA's investigation of Hezbollah would be emblematic of the previous administration's fixation to strike a nuclear accord with Iran at any costs."   "This blind eye imperiled our efforts to combat Iran and its proxies' malign behavior and left us with a cash-flush Iran on the warpath across the Middle East with a nuclear program legitimized by the JCPOA," Roskam said, using the acronym for the nuclear deal's official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "Congress needs to investigate this report and do what the Obama Administration refused to do, severely increase pressure on Hezbollah and hold the terrorist group, and its benefactor Iran, accountable for their crimes." Congress is especially interested to learn whether key Obama Administration officials, such as National Security Council staffer Ben Rhodes, were involved in quashing the DEA investigation in an effort to preserve diplomatic relations with Iran surrounding the nuclear deal. U.S. DEA agents who spoke to POLITICO accused the Obama administration into derailing an investigation launched during the Bush administration into drug trafficking and money laundering by Hezbollah. The derailed DEA investigation centered on Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militants, which used wiretaps and undercover operations to gather evidence.

22 декабря 2017, 00:52

U.N. Security Council to vote Friday on new North Korea sanctions

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Friday on a U.S.-drafted resolution that seeks to toughen sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch, diplomats said.

04 сентября 2015, 14:40

The Clinton Emails and the Iran Lobby

The release of another batch of Hillary Clinton emails, courtesy of the State Department, provides an opportunity to glimpse inside the formation of the Obama administration's approach to Iran in the early days of his presidency. Several interesting emails in particular shed some light on the important role a pro-Iranian lobbying group played in shaping U.S. policy. In fact, given the smear merchants who constantly berate the "Jewish lobby" as being all-powerful in Washington, it turns out that the Iran lobby has been far more influential during the Obama presidency and that they've had the ear of key policymakers in the administration. As Hillary Clinton's emails demonstrate, a 10-page plan sent to her by four key members of The Iran Project provided the blueprint for America's strategy with Iran. Perhaps no one has taken a deeper dive into the Iran lobby than Lee Smith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and senior editor of The Weekly Standard. In a series of articles he penned in his Tablet Magazine column, "Agents of Influence" in 2010, he explored the dueling Iran lobbies in detail, half a year after the protest movement in Iran was crushed by the regime. In "Iran's Man in Washington," Smith explored Flynt Leverett and his wife, Hillary Mann Leverett, whose main claim to fame rested on Flynt's access to the hard-line elements of the regime in Tehran and the couple's invention of a "grand bargain" offered by Iran in 2003. Smith explains that Flynt "was lionized by liberals for his opposition to the Bush administration's Iran policy." They blamed the Bush administration for not taking Iran up on their proposed "grand bargain." The problem was, as a former colleague on the National Security Council staff recalled, "It was either a concoction of the Swiss ambassador, or of the Swiss ambassador and the Leveretts together." Lee Smith elaborated: Although the legend of the Grand Bargain has been discredited, the tale--a narrative describing a sensible, realistic Iran eagerly courting a stubborn Washington, with the Leveretts in the middle of things--served its purpose. It not only identified the couple as critics of the Bush administration, it also certified them as experts about the Iranian regime--and as instruments through which the regime might influence Washington. Another pillar of the Iran lobby in Washington, Smith writes in "The Immigrant," is Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), who became the face of the Iranian-American lobby in Washington. Unlike the Leveretts, Parsi "nurtured a relationship with regime insiders close to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani--the so-called 'reformers' in Tehran--who have squared off against the faction favored by the Leveretts, which includes Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guard Corps." Trita Parsi came to the U.S. from Sweden in 2001, having left Iran when he was four years old, in 1978 before the Iranian revolution kicked into high gear. In 2002, he formed the NIAC "hoping to give voice not only to the diaspora's talents and resources but also its growing resentments." In a recent article, "Meet the Iran Lobby," Lee Smith described Parsi as "the tip of the spear of the Iran Lobby," who "won a defining battle over the direction of American foreign policy." Given the nuclear agreement reached in Vienna in July, there can be no doubt that Lee Smith is right. The Iran lobby has indeed become powerful in Washington's policy circles and at the highest levels of government. This is the story of another pillar of that lobby, The Iran Project, and the role they played in working with the Obama administration in its infancy to form an approach to Iran, as evidenced by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails. Determination in the Administration Preferring to eschew the hardball foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration, it's no secret that Obama believed he could catch more bees with honey. Shortly after taking office in 2009, the new president began a process of engagement with Iran that was ultimately designed to reestablish full U.S. diplomatic relations. A major Israeli newspaper, Maariv, reported that Washington was ready to hold senior level diplomatic contacts, agree to reciprocal visits, approve security cooperation between the countries, establish direct flights between the U.S. and Iran, and grant visas to Iranians wishing to visit the United States. Much to Obama's chagrin, the Iranians rejected the overture. President Obama, however, remained determined to strike a grand bargain with Iran. During his initial diplomatic outreach, thousands of Iranian protesters took to the streets to protest the fraudulent election results that reelected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The regime brutally cracked down on the protesters killing hundreds, and arresting and torturing thousands. But Obama was undeterred and kept engaging with the regime. Nor did he appear to re-think his approach few months later in September when the U.S., Britain, and France revealed that Iran was secretly building a uranium enrichment facility in a mountain near Qom that came to be known as the Fordow facility. Despite the failure of Obama's outreach in his first year and the clenched fist response offered by the regime in Tehran, the White House was still in need of a strategy with Iran. The blueprint that the Obama administration eventually adopted was one put out by the president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stephen Heintz, and former ambassadors, William Luers, Thomas Pickering, and Frank Wisner. They are the key members of The Iran Project, a pro-Iran lobbying group "dedicated to improving the relationship between the U.S. and Iranian governments." The Iran Project Peter Waldman explained in an article for Bloomberg Politics that "for more than a decade they've conducted a dialogue with well placed Iranians, including Mohammad Javad Zarif," Iran's foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund spent millions of dollars since 2003 promoting a nuclear agreement with Iran, mainly through The Iran Project. After the 9/11 attacks, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund's president, Stephen Heintz, became more infatuated with Iran and he began thinking about "its geostrategic importance and its relation to the Sunni world," Heintz said. So he established The Iran Project in cooperation with the United Nations Association of the U.S. headed by William Luers. Luers made contact with Mohammad Javad Zarif through Iran's mission to the UN in New York. He also recruited career diplomats Thomas Pickering (who also serves on NIAC's Advisory Board) and Frank Wisner. They "developed a relationship with Zarif, who was stationed in New York representing Iran at the UN. In early 2002, The Iran Project set up a meeting with Iranians affiliated with the Institute for Political and International Studies in Tehran, a think tank with close government ties," Waldman explained. The secret meetings they held in European capitals stopped when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became Iran's president in 2005 but their relationship with Zarif proved to be lynchpin in getting negotiations underway when he was made foreign minister in 2013. Waldman quotes a State Department official saying that the administration welcomed backchannel efforts like The Iran Project's because "it proves useful both to have knowledgeable former officials and country experts engaging with their counterparts and in reinforcing our own messages when possible." But The Iran Project, which became an independent non-governmental entity as Barack Obama took office in 2009, did more than that for the State Department under Hillary Clinton. They provided the initial plan that as their website states, would "encourage greater cooperation between the U.S. and Iran for greater regional stability." In other words, early on in the Obama administration, the decision was made that a deal with Iran would be about more than their nuclear file. Toward a New Policy on Iran In December 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Under-Secretary of State William Burns met with Heintz, Luers, Pickering, and Wisner--four of the nine key leaders of The Iran Project. As Hillary Clinton's emails demonstrate, Pickering emailed her their 10-page plan that "provides fuller detail on the ideas we discussed" on December 22, 2010. Entitled, "Toward a New Policy on Iran," it provided the outline for U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic. Indeed, most of the features contained in the plan are recognizable looking back at U.S. diplomacy since that time. It is, in essence, a document of America's surrender from the Middle East and acquiescence in Iran's dominance in the region. This policy prescription would set the table to discuss the terms of that surrender. "We propose that you urge the President to instruct you to open a direct relationship with Iran," their 2010 policy paper states. "The burden rests on the U.S. to convince an uncertain Iranian leadership to come out of its shell." That required written assurances that the Obama administration would not seek a policy of regime change. Mr. Obama sent Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a letter early in his first term and many more followed between either Khamenei or President Rouhani after his 2013 election. To start off on the right foot with Iran, President Obama "must find a way to communicate directly with the Supreme Leader a U.S. desire to open official talks" and it should be conducted through a personal emissary he appoints to deliver oral messages. According to Israel's biggest-selling daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, Barack Obama dispatched a personal emissary to a series of secret meetings in the late summer and autumn of 2012 to meet with "Iranian officials led by a personal representative of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei." Obama's emissary was his special adviser, Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago lawyer and close friend of Mr. Obama, born in Shiraz, Iran, to American parents. The paper described her as "a key figure in secret contacts the White House is conducting with the Iranian regime." What Obama's emissary should call for "in a respectful tone" is mutual recognition of the other's legitimate interests in the area. That means before any discussions would commence, the U.S. would have to recognize as legitimate, Iran's reach into Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, to the Mediterranean Sea. In other words, the United States should sign up to legitimize the export of the Islamic Republic's revolution, a central raison d'être of the regime that emerged after the 1979 revolution. A thaw in relations must precede progress on the nuclear deal, this Iran lobby argued, because one of the consequences of continuing with the current policy "will be the missed opportunity to engage Iran in a long tem constructive regional strategy." Indeed, with Iran acting as America's partner in the Middle East, there will be an opportunity to help establish "a regional security structure aimed at giving Iran and the Gulf states a greater sense of stability." This would allow the U.S. and Iran "to develop together approaches to... eventually weaken Iran's support for Hamas and Hezbollah." This, of course, is akin to discussing fire safety measures with the neighborhood's leading arsonist. Therefore, the U.S. should immediately redeem Iran, end its isolation, and cooperate with the regime in Tehran on other issues of mutual interest before discussing the nuclear program directly: "A U.S. offer to cooperate with Iran as an equal partner on one or more non-nuclear issues will set the stage for [sic] more fruitful discussion of the nuclear issue. The U.S. will improve markedly chances to get Iran to deal seriously with the nuclear issues by starting with an offer to cooperate on other problems in the region." That is precisely what the Obama administration has been at pains to avoid saying publicly--that the U.S. has acted as Iran's air force in Iraq in an effort to rollback the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. As Lee Smith reported in Tablet Magazine in May 2014: In Lebanon, the U.S. intelligence community has teamed up with the Lebanese Armed Forces' military intelligence, essentially now a subset of Hezbollah, to fight Sunni extremists. In Iraq, the administration has dispatched arms to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, another Iranian asset who is allied with groups that have killed American soldiers, like Asaib Ahl a-Haq, to support his counter-insurgency against Sunni fighters. Regarding the nuclear negotiations themselves, the plan's authors called on the administration to adopt an approach that would provide for Iran's enrichment under international supervision and would eliminate any suggestion that Iran suspends either its enrichment or its manufacturing of key components for their nuclear facilities as a precondition for any progress toward direct talks. And finally, once they begin to negotiate directly with each other, the U.S. should set aside the "zero enrichment preconditions for any progress in the talks." That means shredding the previous six UN Security Council resolutions aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear program and offering upfront to Iran the right to enrich uranium on its own soil. Most critics of the nuclear pact reached in July consider the original sin to be Obama's concession to Iran that they would be allowed to complete the full nuclear cycle on their own soil. What the Fatwa? Picking up on the Iran lobby's paper, another key talking point the Obama administration relied on is an understanding that "the Leader's fatwa against the building or use of nuclear weapons could establish an excellent basis for discussions with the aim of agreement for greater IAEA access to Iran's nuclear program to assure the world about Iran's nuclear intentions and develop an arrangement regarding enrichment." This nuclear fatwa, however, is a canard and a hoax. It is "nothing more than a propaganda ruse on the part of the Iranian regime," according to many analysts including the Middle East Media Research Institute. Nevertheless, it has been frequently cited by the administration and repeated by Mr. Obama in his March 2015 annual statement to Iran marking the Persian new year. And the IAEA now has secret side deals with Iran for inspections with holes so big one could drive a rundown Iranian Saipa through. To top it all off, The Iran Project policy plan also called for "mutual recognition that both leaders of the U.S. and Iran have stated publicly their desire for a world without nuclear weapons." That was designed to send a shot over Israel's bow--an assumed nuclear weapons program that sparked no regional nuclear arms race such as Iran's today. True to form, with the July nuclear deal sealed and in the rearview mirror, Mohammad Zarif penned an article in The Guardian, "Iran has signed a historic nuclear deal--now it's Israel's turn." Iran's Success at America's Expense If the Obama administration did not adopt this plan in its entirety, then it would be an impressive coincidence that just about all of the proposals in The Iran Project's blueprint were adopted and the predictable outcome is the shameful and harmful nuclear deal with Iran. It's not just that the Obama administration was willing to adopt the deal; it's the workman-like salesmanship of the deal that Mr. Obama is engaged in. Despite poll after poll indicating that the more Americans learn about the deal, the less they like it--with a two-to-one margin currently opposed--President Obama has stood resolute. Instead of explaining that the deal wasn't perfect but it was the best he could negotiate and it meets U.S. security needs, or acknowledging that his critics have some good points (since they're based on the President's broken promises) and working to make a few unilateral adjustments that would set more minds at ease, he has chose a different path. He offered no quarter, likening the experts who came out against the agreement to "Lobbyists and pundits" who "were suddenly transformed into arm-chair nuclear scientists." Then, he labeled them "the crazies." In a manner befitting of former CIA Director George Tenet's "slam dunk" prognosis in the run up the 2003 Iraq war, Obama even declared: "I've had to make a lot of tough calls as President, but whether or not this deal is good for American security is not one of those calls. It's not even close." The crystal clear reality is that the Obama administration is not just onboard with the Iran lobby's positions, but he has bought it all--hook, line, and sinker. Whether the inception of the idea began before he came to Washington, or whether The Iran Project, the National Iranian American Council, or the likes of the Leveretts cemented the approach he would adopt during negotiations, one thing is certain: The nuclear deal with Iran is a boon for all involved other than the U.S. and its allies in Israel and the wider Middle East. It marks America's definitive shift away from its traditional regional allies and defines a new relationship with a former adversary that is unfortunately based on hope rather than experience. The Iran lobby will no doubt celebrate this and build on their quiet and impressive success. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

04 сентября 2015, 14:40

The Clinton Emails and the Iran Lobby

The release of another batch of Hillary Clinton emails, courtesy of the State Department, provides an opportunity to glimpse inside the formation of the Obama administration's approach to Iran in the early days of his presidency. Several interesting emails in particular shed some light on the important role a pro-Iranian lobbying group played in shaping U.S. policy. In fact, given the smear merchants who constantly berate the "Jewish lobby" as being all-powerful in Washington, it turns out that the Iran lobby has been far more influential during the Obama presidency and that they've had the ear of key policymakers in the administration. As Hillary Clinton's emails demonstrate, a 10-page plan sent to her by four key members of The Iran Project provided the blueprint for America's strategy with Iran. Perhaps no one has taken a deeper dive into the Iran lobby than Lee Smith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and senior editor of The Weekly Standard. In a series of articles he penned in his Tablet Magazine column, "Agents of Influence" in 2010, he explored the dueling Iran lobbies in detail, half a year after the protest movement in Iran was crushed by the regime. In "Iran's Man in Washington," Smith explored Flynt Leverett and his wife, Hillary Mann Leverett, whose main claim to fame rested on Flynt's access to the hard-line elements of the regime in Tehran and the couple's invention of a "grand bargain" offered by Iran in 2003. Smith explains that Flynt "was lionized by liberals for his opposition to the Bush administration's Iran policy." They blamed the Bush administration for not taking Iran up on their proposed "grand bargain." The problem was, as a former colleague on the National Security Council staff recalled, "It was either a concoction of the Swiss ambassador, or of the Swiss ambassador and the Leveretts together." Lee Smith elaborated: Although the legend of the Grand Bargain has been discredited, the tale--a narrative describing a sensible, realistic Iran eagerly courting a stubborn Washington, with the Leveretts in the middle of things--served its purpose. It not only identified the couple as critics of the Bush administration, it also certified them as experts about the Iranian regime--and as instruments through which the regime might influence Washington. Another pillar of the Iran lobby in Washington, Smith writes in "The Immigrant," is Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), who became the face of the Iranian-American lobby in Washington. Unlike the Leveretts, Parsi "nurtured a relationship with regime insiders close to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani--the so-called 'reformers' in Tehran--who have squared off against the faction favored by the Leveretts, which includes Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guard Corps." Trita Parsi came to the U.S. from Sweden in 2001, having left Iran when he was four years old, in 1978 before the Iranian revolution kicked into high gear. In 2002, he formed the NIAC "hoping to give voice not only to the diaspora's talents and resources but also its growing resentments." In a recent article, "Meet the Iran Lobby," Lee Smith described Parsi as "the tip of the spear of the Iran Lobby," who "won a defining battle over the direction of American foreign policy." Given the nuclear agreement reached in Vienna in July, there can be no doubt that Lee Smith is right. The Iran lobby has indeed become powerful in Washington's policy circles and at the highest levels of government. This is the story of another pillar of that lobby, The Iran Project, and the role they played in working with the Obama administration in its infancy to form an approach to Iran, as evidenced by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails. Determination in the Administration Preferring to eschew the hardball foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration, it's no secret that Obama believed he could catch more bees with honey. Shortly after taking office in 2009, the new president began a process of engagement with Iran that was ultimately designed to reestablish full U.S. diplomatic relations. A major Israeli newspaper, Maariv, reported that Washington was ready to hold senior level diplomatic contacts, agree to reciprocal visits, approve security cooperation between the countries, establish direct flights between the U.S. and Iran, and grant visas to Iranians wishing to visit the United States. Much to Obama's chagrin, the Iranians rejected the overture. President Obama, however, remained determined to strike a grand bargain with Iran. During his initial diplomatic outreach, thousands of Iranian protesters took to the streets to protest the fraudulent election results that reelected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The regime brutally cracked down on the protesters killing hundreds, and arresting and torturing thousands. But Obama was undeterred and kept engaging with the regime. Nor did he appear to re-think his approach few months later in September when the U.S., Britain, and France revealed that Iran was secretly building a uranium enrichment facility in a mountain near Qom that came to be known as the Fordow facility. Despite the failure of Obama's outreach in his first year and the clenched fist response offered by the regime in Tehran, the White House was still in need of a strategy with Iran. The blueprint that the Obama administration eventually adopted was one put out by the president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stephen Heintz, and former ambassadors, William Luers, Thomas Pickering, and Frank Wisner. They are the key members of The Iran Project, a pro-Iran lobbying group "dedicated to improving the relationship between the U.S. and Iranian governments." The Iran Project Peter Waldman explained in an article for Bloomberg Politics that "for more than a decade they've conducted a dialogue with well placed Iranians, including Mohammad Javad Zarif," Iran's foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund spent millions of dollars since 2003 promoting a nuclear agreement with Iran, mainly through The Iran Project. After the 9/11 attacks, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund's president, Stephen Heintz, became more infatuated with Iran and he began thinking about "its geostrategic importance and its relation to the Sunni world," Heintz said. So he established The Iran Project in cooperation with the United Nations Association of the U.S. headed by William Luers. Luers made contact with Mohammad Javad Zarif through Iran's mission to the UN in New York. He also recruited career diplomats Thomas Pickering (who also serves on NIAC's Advisory Board) and Frank Wisner. They "developed a relationship with Zarif, who was stationed in New York representing Iran at the UN. In early 2002, The Iran Project set up a meeting with Iranians affiliated with the Institute for Political and International Studies in Tehran, a think tank with close government ties," Waldman explained. The secret meetings they held in European capitals stopped when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became Iran's president in 2005 but their relationship with Zarif proved to be lynchpin in getting negotiations underway when he was made foreign minister in 2013. Waldman quotes a State Department official saying that the administration welcomed backchannel efforts like The Iran Project's because "it proves useful both to have knowledgeable former officials and country experts engaging with their counterparts and in reinforcing our own messages when possible." But The Iran Project, which became an independent non-governmental entity as Barack Obama took office in 2009, did more than that for the State Department under Hillary Clinton. They provided the initial plan that as their website states, would "encourage greater cooperation between the U.S. and Iran for greater regional stability." In other words, early on in the Obama administration, the decision was made that a deal with Iran would be about more than their nuclear file. Toward a New Policy on Iran In December 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Under-Secretary of State William Burns met with Heintz, Luers, Pickering, and Wisner--four of the nine key leaders of The Iran Project. As Hillary Clinton's emails demonstrate, Pickering emailed her their 10-page plan that "provides fuller detail on the ideas we discussed" on December 22, 2010. Entitled, "Toward a New Policy on Iran," it provided the outline for U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic. Indeed, most of the features contained in the plan are recognizable looking back at U.S. diplomacy since that time. It is, in essence, a document of America's surrender from the Middle East and acquiescence in Iran's dominance in the region. This policy prescription would set the table to discuss the terms of that surrender. "We propose that you urge the President to instruct you to open a direct relationship with Iran," their 2010 policy paper states. "The burden rests on the U.S. to convince an uncertain Iranian leadership to come out of its shell." That required written assurances that the Obama administration would not seek a policy of regime change. Mr. Obama sent Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a letter early in his first term and many more followed between either Khamenei or President Rouhani after his 2013 election. To start off on the right foot with Iran, President Obama "must find a way to communicate directly with the Supreme Leader a U.S. desire to open official talks" and it should be conducted through a personal emissary he appoints to deliver oral messages. According to Israel's biggest-selling daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, Barack Obama dispatched a personal emissary to a series of secret meetings in the late summer and autumn of 2012 to meet with "Iranian officials led by a personal representative of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei." Obama's emissary was his special adviser, Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago lawyer and close friend of Mr. Obama, born in Shiraz, Iran, to American parents. The paper described her as "a key figure in secret contacts the White House is conducting with the Iranian regime." What Obama's emissary should call for "in a respectful tone" is mutual recognition of the other's legitimate interests in the area. That means before any discussions would commence, the U.S. would have to recognize as legitimate, Iran's reach into Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, to the Mediterranean Sea. In other words, the United States should sign up to legitimize the export of the Islamic Republic's revolution, a central raison d'être of the regime that emerged after the 1979 revolution. A thaw in relations must precede progress on the nuclear deal, this Iran lobby argued, because one of the consequences of continuing with the current policy "will be the missed opportunity to engage Iran in a long tem constructive regional strategy." Indeed, with Iran acting as America's partner in the Middle East, there will be an opportunity to help establish "a regional security structure aimed at giving Iran and the Gulf states a greater sense of stability." This would allow the U.S. and Iran "to develop together approaches to... eventually weaken Iran's support for Hamas and Hezbollah." This, of course, is akin to discussing fire safety measures with the neighborhood's leading arsonist. Therefore, the U.S. should immediately redeem Iran, end its isolation, and cooperate with the regime in Tehran on other issues of mutual interest before discussing the nuclear program directly: "A U.S. offer to cooperate with Iran as an equal partner on one or more non-nuclear issues will set the stage for [sic] more fruitful discussion of the nuclear issue. The U.S. will improve markedly chances to get Iran to deal seriously with the nuclear issues by starting with an offer to cooperate on other problems in the region." That is precisely what the Obama administration has been at pains to avoid saying publicly--that the U.S. has acted as Iran's air force in Iraq in an effort to rollback the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. As Lee Smith reported in Tablet Magazine in May 2014: In Lebanon, the U.S. intelligence community has teamed up with the Lebanese Armed Forces' military intelligence, essentially now a subset of Hezbollah, to fight Sunni extremists. In Iraq, the administration has dispatched arms to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, another Iranian asset who is allied with groups that have killed American soldiers, like Asaib Ahl a-Haq, to support his counter-insurgency against Sunni fighters. Regarding the nuclear negotiations themselves, the plan's authors called on the administration to adopt an approach that would provide for Iran's enrichment under international supervision and would eliminate any suggestion that Iran suspends either its enrichment or its manufacturing of key components for their nuclear facilities as a precondition for any progress toward direct talks. And finally, once they begin to negotiate directly with each other, the U.S. should set aside the "zero enrichment preconditions for any progress in the talks." That means shredding the previous six UN Security Council resolutions aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear program and offering upfront to Iran the right to enrich uranium on its own soil. Most critics of the nuclear pact reached in July consider the original sin to be Obama's concession to Iran that they would be allowed to complete the full nuclear cycle on their own soil. What the Fatwa? Picking up on the Iran lobby's paper, another key talking point the Obama administration relied on is an understanding that "the Leader's fatwa against the building or use of nuclear weapons could establish an excellent basis for discussions with the aim of agreement for greater IAEA access to Iran's nuclear program to assure the world about Iran's nuclear intentions and develop an arrangement regarding enrichment." This nuclear fatwa, however, is a canard and a hoax. It is "nothing more than a propaganda ruse on the part of the Iranian regime," according to many analysts including the Middle East Media Research Institute. Nevertheless, it has been frequently cited by the administration and repeated by Mr. Obama in his March 2015 annual statement to Iran marking the Persian new year. And the IAEA now has secret side deals with Iran for inspections with holes so big one could drive a rundown Iranian Saipa through. To top it all off, The Iran Project policy plan also called for "mutual recognition that both leaders of the U.S. and Iran have stated publicly their desire for a world without nuclear weapons." That was designed to send a shot over Israel's bow--an assumed nuclear weapons program that sparked no regional nuclear arms race such as Iran's today. True to form, with the July nuclear deal sealed and in the rearview mirror, Mohammad Zarif penned an article in The Guardian, "Iran has signed a historic nuclear deal--now it's Israel's turn." Iran's Success at America's Expense If the Obama administration did not adopt this plan in its entirety, then it would be an impressive coincidence that just about all of the proposals in The Iran Project's blueprint were adopted and the predictable outcome is the shameful and harmful nuclear deal with Iran. It's not just that the Obama administration was willing to adopt the deal; it's the workman-like salesmanship of the deal that Mr. Obama is engaged in. Despite poll after poll indicating that the more Americans learn about the deal, the less they like it--with a two-to-one margin currently opposed--President Obama has stood resolute. Instead of explaining that the deal wasn't perfect but it was the best he could negotiate and it meets U.S. security needs, or acknowledging that his critics have some good points (since they're based on the President's broken promises) and working to make a few unilateral adjustments that would set more minds at ease, he has chose a different path. He offered no quarter, likening the experts who came out against the agreement to "Lobbyists and pundits" who "were suddenly transformed into arm-chair nuclear scientists." Then, he labeled them "the crazies." In a manner befitting of former CIA Director George Tenet's "slam dunk" prognosis in the run up the 2003 Iraq war, Obama even declared: "I've had to make a lot of tough calls as President, but whether or not this deal is good for American security is not one of those calls. It's not even close." The crystal clear reality is that the Obama administration is not just onboard with the Iran lobby's positions, but he has bought it all--hook, line, and sinker. Whether the inception of the idea began before he came to Washington, or whether The Iran Project, the National Iranian American Council, or the likes of the Leveretts cemented the approach he would adopt during negotiations, one thing is certain: The nuclear deal with Iran is a boon for all involved other than the U.S. and its allies in Israel and the wider Middle East. It marks America's definitive shift away from its traditional regional allies and defines a new relationship with a former adversary that is unfortunately based on hope rather than experience. The Iran lobby will no doubt celebrate this and build on their quiet and impressive success. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.